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Home Run King Barry Bonds Indicted

A federal grand jury indicts Barry Bonds on five felony counts of perjury and obstruction of justice, charges that could result in a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if he's convicted. The indictment culminates a four-year investigation into steroid use by elite athletes. Just three months ago, the former San Francisco Giants star angrily defended himself against steroid allegations on the night he surpassed Hank Aaron to become baseball's home run king.

"This record is not tainted at all — period," he said the night he broke the record.

Bonds finished the season with 762 home runs.

Word of the Bonds indictment raced through the popular hangout Double Play, probably San Francisco's oldest sports bar.

Joe Tuhtan was among those who waved off the news: "You know what? Everybody cheats in baseball. Barry, yeah, he lied, he cheated. Do I feel bad or good about it? Not really. He just got caught. He'll get busted for it. He still set the record."

Another fan, Pat McMillan, was less forgiving: "I think the rules are the rules and he had a choice. He could have told the truth. He could have played by the rules. He didn't."

Outside the Double Play, Mitchell Reiff summed up the ambivalence many San Franciscans feel about Bonds.

"He used illegal things to get as good as he was and if he weren't on the Giants I probably wouldn't like him."

But Bonds is no longer a Giant. The team declined to pick up his contract near the end of the season. And the next time his fans are likely to see him is Dec. 7, at his first scheduled court appearance.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.